Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Tag: American Abstraction

The ultimate kudo: Flora Crockett’s New York Times review

Flora Crockett
Exhibition Catalogue
Meredith Ward Fine Art

The Observer, a New York arts and culture newspaper, published an article in May 2013 by Andrew Russell who laments the dying tradition of formal art critics.

What is disappearing is not the art critic—you could argue that, with the expansion of websites and social media, there are now more than ever before—but the tradition of a regularly recurring voice in a widely circulated newspaper or magazine or even alternative paper: people who have the opportunity to expose a wide variety of art to a broad audience on a continual basis.

Roberta Smith, art critic for the New York Times, is such a voice and with  a huge amount of exhibitions every month, at galleries, in museums and in non-profit centers, the choice is almost infinite in terms of what she can write about and whom.  It is an honor to Flora Crockett’s visionary paintings and to Meredith Ward’s astute eye and hard work that this tribute of the FLORA CROCKETT exhibition at Meredith Ward Fine Art, a beautiful townhouse gallery at 44 East 77th Street, New York commanded so much space and such great praise!

http://www.meredithwardfineart.com/

ART & DESIGN | LAST CHANCE

 A Forgotten Abstractionist Roars Back in Bright, Jangly Lines

Review: Flora Crockett, a Forgotten Abstract Painter

By ROBERTA SMITH NOV. 10, 2015

The paintings of the American abstractionist Flora Crockett have not been exhibited in New York since a group show at the Overseas Press Club of America in 1965. That was the year she turned 73 and began her most productive period as a painter.

Flora Crockett
Untitled
Oil on canvas board

After Ms. Crockett died in 1979, her canvases from 1965 to 1973 were inherited by a nephew, Austin Hart Emery, an engineer and great admirer of his aunt, who stored them in his barn outside Albany. He always meant to do something with them but never got around to it, and so the job fell to his daughter, Mary Emery Lacoursiere, an artist and designer living on Nantucket, in Massachusetts. She was introduced to Meredith Ward, whose New York gallery specializes in 20th-century American artists, especially forgotten ones. Ms. Ward saw photographs of the paintings and was immediately intrigued.

And so at the moment about two dozen of Ms. Crockett’s sparkling late paintings, with their bright tangles of jazzy lines and shapes floating on pale, brushy backgrounds, form a surprising exhibition at Meredith Ward Fine Art. This is our first sighting of a body of work that could hold its own in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art or the Museum of Modern Art and in the history of American abstract painting.

They are accompanied by a catalog that contains the first published account of Ms. Crockett’s life and speculates about her development, written by Ms. Ward. She used Ms. Crockett’s papers, which are being organized by Isabella Rosner, a Columbia student, working with Ms. Lacoursiere.

Flora Crockett
Mental Landscape
Oil on board

Loosely geometric and modest in size, Ms. Crockett’s paintings are elegant, knowing and at ease, made by a practiced hand. They indicate a familiarity with 20th-century abstraction: Mondrian’s quietly robust brushwork, and the levitating compositions of Kandinsky, Miró and Léger. They also suggest exposure to American liberators of geometry like the painters Charles Green Shaw and Stuart Davis. But the sharp colors and dynamic compositions feel hip, fresh and very much her own. Ms. Crockett’s paintings are in step with their time, a moment after Pop Art and Color Field painting had given color new heat.

Ms. Crockett left very little imprint on the art world, perhaps because she always had to work to support herself. She seems to have had a total of three solo shows during her life. One was in 1937 in Paris, where she had lived since 1924, just before the impending World War drove her back to the United States. The second was in 1939 in the town library of Potsdam, N.Y., where the W.P.A. had sent her to run an art school. The third was in 1946 at the Bonestell Gallery in New York.

Flora Crockett

And yet despite Ms. Crockett’s challenges, the paintings at Meredith Ward attest to an optimism that seems to have been backed by an inborn sense of determination unusual for women of her generation. Ms. Crockett was born in Grelton, Ohio, in 1892, to a family of farmers whose ancestors included Davy Crockett, which may have something to do with the independence gene. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1911 with a major in art and mathematics and headed for Detroit to study to become an art teacher. In 1915 she landed a job as supervisor of art for the public schools of Roslyn, N.Y., where she married an Italian-born sculptor, Edmondo Quattrocchi (1889-1966). Next stop, Paris.

Ms. Crockett seems to have taken full advantage of this sojourn. She studied at the Sorbonne and the school of the Louvre while directing a school for war orphans in Poissy, outside Paris. In 1926 she enrolled as a student in Léger’s Académie Moderne, eventually serving as its director until 1931. And then, in 1937, having divorced, she came home, settling in New York. In 1940 she rented an apartment at 233 West 14th Street, almost directly opposite Duchamp’s studio at 210, and lived there for the rest of her life. She supported herself with various jobs — in design, sales, engineering and also teaching — trying to save enough money so she could take time off for her art.

A belated and remarkable growth spurt ensued as her abstract vocabulary came into its own in a remarkably up-to-date way. Two canvases from 1967 have backgrounds of blocks of pale color, as if painted over an earlier geometric style. Then come a series of works that seem based on energetic doodles of whose peregrinations create delicate amalgams of shapes that are then filled in with vibrant colors. These are wonderful works, but, except for their palette, they might date from the interwar period.

Flora Crockett
77-82
Oil on canvas board

Over the next three years the lines thicken, take on color and come to dominate, flitting and flirting across the canvas while the shapes become fewer and almost disappear. The internal scale is bolder and the compositions have a graphic bounce. In “77-82,” a blue line loops about the surface, while a red one zigzags through the center: Two very different signatures are competing, and they’re both winning.

Yet “66,” from 1966, may be Ms. Crockett’s masterpiece, with its band of yellow- orange snaking among pale wine-red islands, all on a kind of painting- within- a-painting of mint green. Little blocks of blue and pink pin things down and an undulant vertical of red claims the right edge — and its own space. How many more women like Flora Crockett await discovery?

Flora Crockett
66
Oil on board

 

IN OUR NEXT POST, THE LRFA BLOG IS PLEASED TO INTRODUCE THE FEDERATION OF MODERN PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS, AN ORGANIZATION FOUNDED IN 1940 IN RESPONSE TO THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL TURMOIL OF THE THIRTIES, THE DEPRESSION AND THE WPA MOVEMENT.  A NEW EXHIBITION OF MEMBERS’ WORKS, SOUND & IMAGE IS OPENING AT WESTBETH IN EARLY FEBRUARY. NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER, A MEMBER, WILL INFORM US ON THE HISTORY OF THE FEDERATION, THE CURRENT EXHIBITION AND ITS FUTURE GOALS.

PLEASE JOIN US!

 

 

Van Doren Waxter Gallery: a partnership of experience and expertise

Dorsey Waxter Van Doren Waxter Gallery

Dorsey Waxter
Van Doren Waxter Gallery

FOUNDED IN FEBRUARY 2013, VAN DOREN WAXTER GALLERY REPRESENTS A LONG-STANDING AND RESPECTED BUSINESS DIALOGUE AND PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN DORSEY WAXTER AND JOHN VAN DOREN.  HOUSED ON TWO FLOORS IN AN ELEGANT TOWNHOUSE AT 23 EAST 73rd STREET IN NEW YORK CITY,  THE GALLERY, ALTHOUGH NEWLY FORMED, IS A LONG-STANDING COLLABORATION BETWEEN TWO ACCOMPLISHED ART DEALERS.

JOHN AND DORSEY WORKED TOGETHER FOR 15 YEARS AT GREENBERG VAN DOREN, A GALLERY WITH A PARTICULARLY DISTINGUISHED REPUTATION AS A STRONGHOLD OF FIRST-TIER AMERICAN ABSTRACTION FROM THE 1950s to 1990s.  REPRESENTING SUCH IMPORTANT ARTISTS’ ESTATES AS RICHARD DIEBENKORN, AL HELD, JAMES BROOKS AND ALAN SHIELDS,  VAN DOREN WAXTER CONTINUES THAT TRADITION BUT ALSO EXHIBITS AND SUPPORTS THE WORK OF MORE CUTTING-EDGE CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS AT A SECOND LOCATION ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE AT 11 RIVINGTON.

http://www.vandorenwaxter.com

gvd

 

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG WELCOMES DORSEY WAXTER, PARTNER AND PRINCIPAL OF VAN DOREN WAXTER. AS PRESIDENT OF THE ART DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, DORSEY GENEROUSLY CONTRIBUTED TO THE LRFA BLOG LAST YEAR TO INFORM US ABOUT THE  ART SHOW AND THE ADAA’S MANY CONTRIBUTIONS TO SUPPORT THE VISUAL ARTS. http://www.artdealers.org

DORSEY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL HISTORY IN THE ART WORLD WITH US.

ALTHOUGH VAN DOREN WAXTER IS A RELATIVELY NEW ENDEAVOR, FOUNDED IN FEBRUARY 2013, YOU WORKED WITH JOHN VAN DOREN AT GREENBERG VAN DOREN GALLERY FOR 15 YEARS AND PRIOR TO THAT AS ANDRE EMMERICH’S DIRECTOR AT HIS LEGENDARY GALLERY.

Richard Diebenkorn The Healdsburg Years 1988-1992

Richard Diebenkorn
The Healdsburg Years
1988-1992

HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN ART AND THE ART WORLD?

My uncle Ned Daniels served on the board of the Maryland Institute College of Art for three decades and he was my original inspiration to think about the art world. In college I had a terrific professor who advised me that if I wanted to know anything about contemporary art I had to go to New York and live and work there.

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO PURSUE AND DEVELOP THAT INTEREST?

I took my professor’s advice and after I graduated from college with an undergraduate degree I went to work for Nancy Hoffman Gallery in SoHo. I had done an internship with Nancy my junior year in college and she offered me a job to come back and work full-time after I graduated. 

YOU WERE THE DIRECTOR OF ANDRE EMMERICH FOR OVER FIFTEEN YEARS, A GALLERY THAT FOCUSED ON THE NEW YORK COLOR FIELD PAINTERS AND POST-WORLD WAR II ABSTRACTION. EMMERICH WAS AN EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL DEALER AND GALLERY OWNER WHO DEVELOPED THE CAREERS OF SUCH LUMINARIES AS MORRIS LOUIS AND HELEN FRANKENTHALER AND REPRESENTED, AMONG OTHERS, THE WORK OF DAVID HOCKNEY, ANTHONY CARO AND ANN TRUITT.

Alan Shields K.E.C. 1985-86 Watercolor, block printing, glitter, stitching on handmade paper 46 1/4 inches (117.5 cm) diameter

Alan Shields
K.E.C.
1985-86
Watercolor, block printing, glitter, stitching on handmade paper
46 1/4 inches (117.5 cm) diameter

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT EMMERICH? WAS IT FORMATIVE IN DEFINING YOUR TASTE AND AESTHETIC?

Joining the Emmerich gallery in 1977 was a major step in a new direction after working in SoHo. I recognized that André represented some of the great talents of that moment but I was still very inexperienced.  I started working at the front desk where I had the opportunity to meet and get to know all the many important figures of the art world whether they were writers, artists, collectors or museum curators. André was generous with his knowledge and would offer advice about how to show and discuss art with these various groups of people. There is no question that I have always had an abiding interest in abstraction, which was very much a specialty of the Emmerich Gallery.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG, DORSEY WILL EXPAND UPON SPECIFIC CONCERNS AND REQUISITES OF REPRESENTING ARTISTS’ ESTATES.

PLEASE JOIN US!